Although you can't protect against them completely, some simple precautions can reduce these risks for seniors with seizures as well. For example:

  • Don't smoke. Having a seizure while smoking could cause a fire.
  • Use a microwave oven for cooking.
  • Serve food from where it's cooked directly onto plates so you don't have to carry saucepans or casseroles of hot food.
  • Use an automatic coffee pot or heat water by the cup in the microwave instead of boiling a kettle.
  • Use a regular knife for carving, not an electric one.
  • Set the temperature on the water heater low enough to prevent scalding.
  • Keep electric appliances far away from the sink or source of water.
  • Avoid the need to iron by buying permanent press clothes and linens, or sending things that have to be ironed to the cleaners.
  • Keep bathtub levels low.
  • Wear rubber gloves when washing glassware and china or loading it into the dishwasher.
  • Don't use space heaters that have hot surfaces, open heating elements, or can be tipped over.
  • Keep a screen in front of an open fire; don't carry hot ashes out to the trash can.

Driving

People who are having active seizures with loss of consciousness should not drive, no matter what their age.

However, senior citizens with epilepsy whose seizures are fully controlled with medication (and who meet other licensing requirements) can qualify to drive in all parts of the United States.

In most states they will have to show that they have met their state's seizure-free requirements (usually between three months and one year, depending on the state). They will also have to provide whatever statements from their doctors their Departments of Motor Vehicles require.

If driving is not an option, then using public transportation, signing up with local services for the elderly or disabled, or even moving to an apartment complex or community that has its own transportation may be among the alternatives.

Reviewed by: Joseph I. Sirven, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN on 3/2014
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